Brian Moore, my boss BTW ;-), tagged me on answering some questions about how I got started in software development. This post is actually part of a series of posts from different bloggers - kinda of a blog based chain letter and could eventually turn into a Six Degrees of Developers type of deal. ;-)
Here is how it made it's way to me...
Michael Eaton (post) â€”> Sarah Dutkiewicz (post) â€”> Jeff Blankenburg (post) â€”> Josh Holmes (post) â€”> Larry Clarkin (post) â€”> Brian Moore (post)
See my answers below...
How old were you when you started programming?
Hmmmm... I'm trying to think back that far. ;-) I can remember hanging out at the local Radio Shack watching older kids play the pre-cursor to Zork on a TRS-80, but I didn't really start writing my own programs until I could bang out copies of BASIC programs on a C64.
What was your first language?
What was the first real program you wrote?
My first "real" program was written on some terminal based system as a freshman in high school. I don't know if it was a VAX or what (I didn't care really), but I wrote a program that allowed you to enter up to three "martial arts" commands, like Block Middle, Kick Low, Punch High. Another player would then enter his commands and I would use a matrix to look up and report the damage results. You played until you knocked the other guy out. It was actually based on an article from Dragon magazine. It was real popular for a while. ;-)
What languages have you used since you started programming
What was your first professional programming gig?
In the Air Force, despite being an infrastructure guy, I helped write some help desk software for our department. I followed that up with an inventory management application that sat on top of SMS 1.0.
If you knew then what you know now, would you have started programming?
Probably, but I always wonder what would have happened if I had pursued my dream of being a professional butt model.
If there is one thing you learned along the way that you would tell new developers, what would it be?
Wow, it all depends on where they want to go. If you want to be a programmer forever, then focusing on the the "disciplines" is the way to go - design patterns, architecture, etc. If you don't think you will be a programmer forever, those things are still important, but soft skills, articulating technology, etc. are very important.
What's the most fun you've ever had ... programming?
The thing I love most about programming is just solving a problem. Its the "art" side of the job I appreciate and enjoy the most. Because of that, I think the stuff I wrote early was the most fun since I really didn't care about "good" code, it was just about creating something. I remember developing a C++ app that took the gaming system for cyberspace combat from the game Shadowrun and turning that into a computer "game". I use "game" loosely since it only allowed the GM and player to "fight" each other via the keyboard than rolling dice.
It was cool. It has a designer for laying out the "Matrix" and a way to trick out your hacker console and load various combat programs on it. The GM did the same and then you would fight. It wasn't a perfect replica but it was good enough and I had a ton of fun writing it. I slept only a few hours a night as I would code all day/night after getting of work from my Air Force day job.
Who am I calling out?